Odisha police warns against playing killer ‘Momo Challenge’ game

Bhubaneswar: Amid reports of the death of an engineering student due to ‘Momo challenge’, the Odisha police today issued an advisory warning people, especially the youngsters to stay away from the ‘killer’ online game, which is now going viral on social media.

The Crime Branch of the State police has issued a precautionary notice urging parents and teachers to keep an eye on their online activities.

“The MOMO Challenge is being circulated by some mischievous and criminal-minded people on social media. It instigates people, especially children to commit suicide as the final task,” said Crime Branch Additional Director General (ADG), Santosh Upadhyay.

“Innocent people around the world have fallen prey to this malicious game, there is a need for the parents and teachers to be aware of this threat and save the children from it,” he said.

The game lures player to add an unknown contact on WhatsApp by the name of ‘Momo’. Once the contact is added, the image of a terrifying Japanese ‘Momo’ doll with bulging eyes appears in the contact list. The game controller then entices the player to perform a series of challenges including suicide.

Here’s how you can know:

  1. Unknown link coming to your WhatsApp number should be deleted immediately
  2. Unknown invitation through WhatsApp may be avoided.
  3. If some unknown number is asking for playing the game then simply block the number

Signs and symptoms of victims:

  1. Becoming withdrawn from friends and family
  2. Persistent low mood and unhappiness
  3. Looking worried
  4. Not carrying out day to day tasks
  5. Sudden outburst of anger directed at themselves or others
  6. Loss of interest in activities that may used to enjoy
  7. Visible marks like deep cuts or wounds on any part of the body of the child

Advice to Parents:

  1. Unusually secretive behaviour of children mostly related to their online activity
  2. A sudden increase in the time they spend online, especially social ,media
  3. They seems to change screens on their device when approached
  4. They become withdrawn or angry, after using the internet or sending the text messages
  5. Their device suddenly has many new phone numbers and email contacts

Advice to Teachers:

  1. Keep a close watch on the behaviour of all the students
  2. Keep the parents informed about the children who are suspected to be playing Momo challenge games
  3. Conduct a random check of mobile phones of the students if the Momo challenege applications installed in their mobile phones and take necessary steps
  4. Keep a constant watch if your students or their friends are involved in some violent act

The police has also advised the media to act responsibly while reporting stories on Momo challenge game.

Advice to Media:

  1. Media is requested not to publish any unverified news and conduct any death/suicides due to Momo challenge without proper verification

The game, considered a successor to the notorious ‘Blue Whale Game’, is a form of cyber-bullying that spreads through social media and cell phone.

The game features a scary image of a girl with bulging eyes. It is reported to have gained public attention in July 2018 when it was noticed by a YouTube user with a large following.

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